Vincent Nava

Gina Campos, Photographer

Former Downey High alumni, Vincent Nava, was left to fight for his life after being left in critical condition as a result of a vicious car crash that took place in Los Angeles, California, earlier this month.  The rumors and fabrications regarding the uncertainty of his well-being were put to rest with the release of a GoFundMe page under his name on September 6, 2020. 

Prior to his passing, Nava was on the rise to becoming a world-renown skateboarder. His proficiency and execution skill found its way surpass his hometown borders, catching the eye of several professional skating organizations and administrations; resulting in what some would consider a lifetime’s worth of hard work, recognition, and accomplishments, all before the age of 21. 

Nava’s official sponsor, Pig Wheels, was among one of the many top tier brands whose attention was captured by the hands of his raw talent. A mere video segment featuring Nava himself -both produced and orchestrated by the Pig Wheels team- ignited heavy interest within Thrasher Magazine personnel, leading to a one-on-one follow-up interview with Thrasher’s Ted Schmitz, late May 2020.

Schmitz commenced his article with the unveiling of his initial impression of his scouted prodigy, saying, “Vincent Nava first struck me as some futuristic hype beast with a costume crisis, but once I hit play on his new Pig part, I was blown away. The LA native crushes more handrails than hairspray bottles—which is no small task.” 

The remainder of Schmitz’s article proceeds to touch base with Nava on both a professional and personal basis, getting to know the true soul behind “The Hairspray and the Hammers”, as Schmitz likes to say. 

Whether through a personal or second-hand experience, it goes without saying that Nava was reputable to always have left a great impression on whoever was watching. 

In an interview with a family friend of Nava’s, also former Downey High alumni,  Mazen Alshekh said, “As an athlete he was definitely on the verge to becoming a professional skater and being one of the biggest skaters in the world, there’s no doubt in my mind about that. There’s so much you could say about him as a person but always having a smile on his face stands out. I’ve never seen him unhappy or having a bad time, great vibes at all times. He never ‘cool-guyed’ anybody when he easily could have. He treated everybody he met as if they were one of his best friends.” When asked to share his take on Nava’s timeline of success, Alshekh said, “I honestly think it was all overdue, he’d been this good for years, and he was finally starting to get the recognition he deserved.” 

What came down as a personal loss for the city of Downey, Vincent Nava, taken too soon, continues to live on through his work, art, and memories with the people, making his stamp within the community as residents have already begun to say, as “a local indie legend”.